Citing No Evidence, Police Union Claims 'Anti-Police Rhetoric' Played Role In TPD Officers' Shooting

Jun 29, 2020

Citing no evidence, the head of Tulsa's local police union claimed in a statement that a "national anti-police narrative" played a role in the shooting of two Tulsa police officers during a traffic stop early Monday morning.

"As I've spoken with police overnight and into this morning, we can't help but see the work of the national anti-police narrative here," says Jerad Lindsey, chairman of the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police, in the Monday statement

"Enough is enough. For these officers and for everyone else on the force leaving their own families today to go selflessly serve others, we must recognize the real impact of anti-police rhetoric and take real action to stop violence against police," the statement concludes.

The Associated Press reports that the suspected shooter, David Anthony Ware, had no known bias toward police, according to TPD Capt. Richard Meulenberg. 

“He clearly did not want to be arrested,” Meulenberg told the AP.

TPD Chief Wendell Franklin said at a press conference Monday that Ware refused to exit his vehicle when instructed by Sgt. Craig Johnson and rookie officer Aurash Zarkeshan. Franklin said after the officers used pepper spray and a Taser, Ware drew a handgun and shot the officers. 

"The bullets found their mark, struck the officers, and the officers were critically injured," Franklin said. Both officers remain in critical condition.

Franklin did not attribute the shooting directly to any movement or rhetoric, but did say at the press conference that there has recently been "hatred" shown toward TPD, and asked the community to "come together" and "support your law enforcement."

The Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Systemic racism and violence in policing have been the main focus of protestors around the world since May 25th, when police officers in Minneapolis killed George Floyd by kneeling on his neck as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. Video of Floyd's killing went viral, triggering ongoing demonstrations and demands for police reform across the country.

Weeks after Minneapolis police killed Floyd, Travis Yates, a major in the Tulsa Police Department, made international headlines for remarks made on a radio show in which he said, according to his reading of research, police officers are "shooting African Americans about 24 percent less than we probably ought to be based on the crimes being committed."

NBC News reported that Lindsey said that the FOP would defend Yates in the event he becomes the subject of disciplinary action.